Jack Tuttle
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I teach at Gryphon. They are good guys and will treat you right.

For those wanting to hear fiddle solos in the context of of bluegrass vocals, almost any of the albums on my recommended bluegrass page would be worthwhile. If you're looking for more fiddle-centric albums, try these below. The range of fiddling albums is diverse and lengthy so here is a very incomplete list of my favorite albums.


Kenny Baker, Plays Bill Monroe: Kenny Baker played with Bill Monroe in the 60's, 70's and 80's. Bill always introduced him as "the greatest fiddler in bluegrass music". This album is his tribute to Bill Monroe. It displays his smooth, fluid fiddling over fiddle tunes, and features many need-to-know classics. County Records

Michael Cleveland, Flamekeeper: This album came out in 2001 and is a bluegrass fiddling album tour-de-force. A high energy mix of traditional fiddle tunes and vocals, with some of the best players on the bluegrass scene. Cleveland's fiddling is the perfect mix of fresh ideas and a strong sense of tradition, impressive for such a young fiddler (early twenties). Maybe my favorite BG fiddle album of all. RounderRecords

Aubrey Haynie, Doin' My Time: The first solo album from one of the super-hot new players. This is a mix of traditional tunes, original tunes and some bluegrass vocals. Fiddling at the highest level, Haynie is among the best of the young generation of creative, talented bluegrass fiddlers.

Stuart Duncan: Stuart gets my vote for the greatest bluegrass fiddler of the last 20 years. He is a member of the Nashville Bluegrass Band, so you'll get great fiddling on any of their albums, but he also plays on lots of studio recordings from bluegrass to country. Almost anything he's on will have amazing fiddling - he is probably the greatest improvisor bluegrass has ever had - but I especially like his playing on the Jim Mills' banjo album, Bound To Ride, on Sugar Hill.

Bobby Hicks: One of the historic greats, having played with Monroe in the 1950's and then with Ricky Skaggs for about twenty years. His playing on the landmark Bluegrass Album Band recordings with Tony Rice, J.D. Crowe and others is quintessential bluegrass fiddling, especially as it relates to playing breaks over singing pieces. There are several of these albums on Rounder, but I'd start with vol 1, Rounder 11502.


Brittany Haas: Brittany was a long time student of mine but I'm not being biased when I say she is one of the most talented fiddlers to ever come upon the scene. This album was recorded at the age of 16, and shows more maturity than most musicians ever attain. It's old-time tunes, played the old-time way, yet backed up in a very modern, Darol Anger arranged fashion. Available at County Sales or direct from Brittany's web site.

Bruce Molsky, Lost Child: Bruce is the leading figure in the world of old-time fiddling today. Very rhythmic bowing and with a higher level of execution than typical old-time, Bruce has a compelling style that has become very influential. This album is mostly fiddle tunes, using various tunings, some old-time banjo tunes, and a few nicely sung pieces, but any of his albums are good. Rounder Records

Rayna Gellert, Ways of the World: A solid album of straight southeastern old-time fiddling, nicely done. Rayna is clean, accurate and very easy to listen to.

Echoes of the Ozarks, vol.1. A compilation of original recordings from the 30's, this CD has a nice mix of tunes and styles. Some of these tunes have become classics. County

Dirk Powell, If I Go Ten Thousand Miles: Another of the top old-time players of today, this is an old-time album with a touch of a bluegrass feel. Some interesting tunes and songs and great backing musicians.

Tommy and Fred, Best Fiddle-Banjo Duets: This is the real deal - not for the faint of heart. Tommy Jarrell is one of the old-time fiddling heroes. He was re-discovered in his retirement years of the 70's and 80's and became a favorite of the young revivalist fiddlers., before his passing away. Very punchy and complex bowing make for an interesting sound. As with many of the older generation fiddlers, the beauty in the playing of these tunes can be an acquired taste - but well worth acquiring.

Various American:

The Best of Fiddle Fever: This album is a mix of styles, with three fiddlers Matt Glaser, Evan Stover and Jay Unger combining for a well thought-out ensemble sound, somewhere between northern and southern fiddling. Lots of energy and very easy to listen to. This also has the original version of Ashokan Farewell, the most celebrated fiddle tune of the last 20 years.

Mark O'Connor, Heroes: Mark O'Connor is one of the most remarkable fiddlers ever - once a child prodigy Texas-style fiddler, who now has the technical skills of the highest classical players. This album features him playing with many of his fiddling heroes, from Benny Thomason to Vassar Clements to Stephane Grapelli and others in styles more rooted in tradition than one hears from him these days.

Darol Anger, Diary of a Fiddler: More than anything else, Darol seems to like to play behind other fiddlers, and he is a master of creative backup. Here is a chance to sample a number of fiddlers, from Cape Breton to old-time to bluegrass and beyond trading ideas with Darol.

Johnny Gimble, The Texas Fiddle Collection: Probably the most celebrated western swing fiddler, this album has a very down-home, under-produced quality about it (in a good way). Johnny is still going strong, having put his time in with Bob Wills in the 50's. A mix of traditional Texas fiddling (no contest fiddling here) and jazzy western swing, this is a great intro to the variety of the older Texas players' repertoire.


Martin Hayes: When Martin put out his first Irish fiddle album in 1992, he received rave reviews, including the one I wrote for Fiddler Magazine. He is a master of nuance and subtlety, and seems to prefer playing simply with emphasis on tones and textures. His first album just titled Martin Hayes, is my choice but all of his albums are very similar. Green Linnet

Cape Breton:

Natalie MacMaster: Natalie has become one of the most popular fiddlers in the world, in part because of her on-stage presence, which includes high-kick dancing while playing intricate fiddle tunes. That doesn't come across very well on a CD but you will hear Cape Breton fiddling at the highest level - then go check her out live. Try No Boundaries.


Alasdair Fraser and Natalie Haas, Fire and Ice: Alasdair is one of the top Scottish fiddlers (though he now resides in California) and here he teams up with the amazing cello player Natalie Haas. Natalie recorded this as a student at Juillard, but make no mistake, she has spent the greater part of her musical life in the world of fiddling - see her sister Brittany's recording in the old-time category. Even with just two players the result is a powerful rhythmic and melodic intertwining of two masters. Culburnie Reocords


Stephane Grappelli: For upscale jazz violin, almost any album made by Grappelli will do, but if you want to hear his early landmark playing, get one of the Hot Club of France albums, with Django Rienhardt. For later Grappelli, I like the Grappelli/Grisman live album, with the added bonus of Mark O'Connor playing fiddle on a couple numbers.

Updated October 17, 2007